Effective communication between school and home is something that we know schools are always working on. As a result there are a wealth of apps and online tools that have been created to help out, all with their own individual features and benefits.
If your school is looking at digitising communications, then we would recommend researching the different features available on a variety of platforms that are on the market, and then consulting your parents and staff (perhaps through a survey) about what features are important to them, and what they would like to get out of using the new app. Here are the key features we think are important to consider for any school-based app.
Do you want a two-way communication tool
Often, the apps used within Primary Schools are great for schools to send information to parents, but they don’t provide any facilities for parents to contact the school. Consider whether your staff would have the capacity if you introduced a platform that allowed parents to email directly in, use a forum and/or be able to easily set up one-to-one meetings with members of staff.
Have a payment option
The days of carrying cash in envelopes and cheques are almost over, so providing an easy to use payment system online for your parents can have a positive impact on strengthening and streamlining processes.
A ‘one-stop-shop’ for parents
Your parents and staff are both really busy, so offering one place that parents can go to for all school-based information will save confusion and time for everyone. Have your timetables, objectives, and news etc., all on the same app or online platform and show parents how they can easily access all of these facilities.
They can help you collaborate with your parent bodies
By introducing communication tools at your school, you can make other links between home and school easier, for example, promoting your PTA or Parent Council’s activities. Many PTAs will already use online platforms to communicate with parents, such as PTA Events, but by using your own platform you can send out messages yourself about the events that are occurring and the activities of your PTA’s fundraising efforts on a school level. By collaborating with your parent bodies, you are further able to streamline processes and make everything simpler for your staff and parents.
Whatever platform you decide to use, just remember that every school is different, take the time to find something that works for you and your parent community.
Sarah West is Marketing and Communications Manager at Parentkind